Solar Pool Covers – How They Work, The Benefits & How To Choose One

Solar Pool Cover

What is a solar pool cover?

Solar pool covers, often referred to as pool blankets, are large sheets of heavy-duty bubble wrap made from light, transparent plastic, like polyethylene or polypropylene. The air bubbles absorb heat from the sun and then transfer that heat to the water, thus heating up the pool water.

Types of solar covers. 

There are different grades of thickness for solar pool covers, ranging from 250 microns to 600 microns. One micron is one-millionth of a metre or one-thousandth (1/1000) of a millimetre.

The 250-micron pool cover material is 0.25 mm thick, and the 600-micron pool cover material is 0.6mm thick. Thicker covers are more costly, retain slightly more heat and last longer than thinner ones. They usually also come with longer warranties.

Solar pool covers also come in various colours: the most common being transparent, blue, and blue with silver. There’s a lot of discussion about which colour is better for heating and heat retention. Some pool owners think that darker colours absorb more heat than lighter ones, while others claim that transparent colours let more heat through.

We have found that our Daisy Titanium Blue covers are the most effective because they have a translucent top layer so the sunlight can pass through, but the bottom layer is silver-tinted, so it reflects the heat back into our pools.

If you live in a tropical area where warmer water isn’t desired, you can use a non-heating Solar Cover like Daisy Titanium Cool that will reflect the sun’s heat without absorbing it into the pool covering material, so it transited virtually zero sunlight and heat to the water maintaining the pool’s water at approximately the same temp as an uncovered pool.

Daisy Titanium Blue pool covers

The Benefits of Swimming Pool Covers.

Investing in a pool cover is one of the easiest ways to save money on the cost of your pool. Installing or using a pool cover is a simple yet highly effective way of keeping pools free of garden debris and insects. There are numerous reasons to cover your swimming pool when it isn’t in use. Pool covers are an essential accessory for any pool and will save you and your pool owner both time and money for pool maintenance.

Most pool owners only use their covers during the cooler months; however, there are plenty of benefits to using them throughout summer. Here are some of the best reasons why you should use a solar pool blanket:

Reduce water usage.

Your pool loses water at a greater rate during summer because of the extra heat. Evaporation is one of the main factors in water loss. Floating pool covers virtually eliminate evaporation if they’re left on when the pool isn’t in use. This can help reduce the amount of water you use by not having to refill your pool as frequently.

They keep water from evaporating by as much as 95%, which means that they are one of the best things to preserve your pool water. Keeping your pool water clean by using a pool cover reduces the number of times your swimming pool needs backwashing.

If the water level falls below the height of the skimmers because of evaporation and your pump sucks in air, you will quickly damage them. A cover prevents this from happening.

Keeps leaves and debris out of the water.

It can be a never-ending battle cleaning up leaves, bugs, and other debris from your pool each week. Algae may start growing if leaves and other debris are not removed from the water. In addition, leaves that fall onto the surface of the cover stay dry and may blow off again. The remaining leaves can be swept away or removed with a leaf blower

Less chance of water flow blockages.

When leaves stay on top of the cover, they don’t end up in your skimmer basket, where they can cause blockages if left unattended. Blockages in your filters and cleaners reduce their efficiency, which results in poorer quality water and increased chances of the pool turning green.

Blocked skimmers and pump strainer baskets can put extra strain on your pumps, which may lead to pump failures. Fewer leaves in the pool mean your leaf collector on your automatic vacuum cleaner needs emptying less frequently.

Keeps heat in the pool.

Keeping your pool covered helps reduce heat loss. The more direct sunlight you get for your pool, the more heat it can provide. When the temperature drops at night, it will usually lower the temperature of the pool’s water. The transparent pool cover allows maximum sunlight and heat into your pool.

Short wavelengths of light will pass through the bubbles of the cover to generate heat, just like a magnifying glass does. A pool cover will retain the sun’s heat and may even keep the water warm enough for swimming the next day, meaning that you will save money and energy by not using your heating system as often.

Save on pool heating costs.

A cover will save you up to 50% on heating costs because evaporation is the primary source of heat loss for pools, which occurs mainly during night-time when the air temperature drops below the pool water temperature.

Extend your swim season.

If you don’t have access to a pool heater, a pool cover will help extend your swimming season into autumn and spring, increasing the pool temperature up to 8°C in pools that get direct sunlight.

How much warmer?Summer*Spring*
 Pool Covers in Melbourne4-6 °C 3-4 °C
 Pool Covers in Sydney6-8 °C 4-6 °C
 Pool Covers in Brisbane6-8+ °C 4-6 °C
 Pool Covers in Perth6-8+ °C 3-6 °C

Reduce chemical usage.

Chemicals are used to restore your pool to a healthy state when leaves, debris, and even rain cause imbalances in your pool water. If you have a pool cover to protect your pool from debris, your pool will stay cleaner for a more extended time.

A pool cover doesn’t replace chemicals, but it can help cut down on the amount you’ll need to use to keep your pool clean. Chlorine is the most common water sanitiser, but it degrades when exposed to sunlight. Covers reduce the UV radiation hitting the water, so you don’t need to consume as much.

In addition, if you have a pool with a saltwater system, your chlorinator requires less electricity. If you add chlorine manually or by dosing pump, you will consume less chlorine, saving you time refilling and money buying chlorine.

Spend less time on maintenance.

Which would you rather do, keep your pool clean or enjoy relaxing in it? If there aren’t any leaves or other debris falling into the pool, you’ll have less cleaning to do, which means you’ll save money. Also, because there’s less water evaporating from the pool, you won’t have to add as many chemicals to the pool to keep it balanced.

If you’re interested in a pool cover but aren’t sure where to start, we can help you find the right one for your needs and budget. See our pool covers selection or give us a call today to learn more about our pool covers.

Solar Pool Cover Roller

The downsides of having a pool cover.

There are many benefits of having solar covers, but there are also some reasons why people don’t like them. Many people find them unattractive and don’t like the look of solar covers. A fully transparent cover like Daisy Illusion solves the problem by having the water show slightly through the cover and have a lesser visual impact.

They can be challenging to use. A spontaneous jump into the pool for a quick swim means doing extra work. For example, you need to roll the cover off your pool before your swim and replace the cover afterwards.

They’re difficult and impractical to use for irregularly shaped pools. They work best on square or rectangular pools. If your pool shape has curves or a kidney bean shape, it may not be possible for you to use a roller on the side of the pool.

You need to have room for the roller on your swimming pool deck to store the pool cover when it isn’t on the pool. Bubble covers should be covered so they don’t get too hot when they’re on the rollers. The bubbles act as magnifying glass and can cause damage to the layer of cover underneath it if not protected from the sunlight. If you’re keeping the cover off the swimming pool for any time on a sunny day, this is another chore.

Solar pool covers can increase the consumption of salt and other ‘non-chlorine’ chemicals. Saltwater pools don’t get rid of salt by themselves; the salt is removed by draining water out of them. By using a cover, you keep all of the rainwater, which means you need to drain the water from the pool along with salts and other chemicals.

Installing a pool cover.

To install a pool cover, first, take it out of the box and unfold it by the pool. Next, lay the bubbles facing down on to pool water. These bubbles filled with air will keep your pool cover floating and act like tiny magnifying glasses heating up your pool water.

Initially, the solar blanket will be probably much bigger than the pool. Cut the excess fabric with scissors so that the blanket fits inside your pool. You should leave the cover about two inches longer and wider on both sides to curve up the sides of the pool. It may take up to eight weeks for a new pool cover to sink in, and if the cover is cut to the exact size at the beginning, there may be a gap later on from the cover to the pool walls.

Leave 2 to 3 inches long flap at the skimmer location to tuck the flap of the cover under the skimmer’s edge. This allows you to brush debris into the skimmer before removing your blanket.

Using a solar pool cover.

If you have a big pool or frequently swim, removing the solar blanket can be quite a chore every time you want to enter the pool. A pool cover roller, aka a reel, is an easy solution to get the cover on and off the pool.

The pool cover roller is installed on one side of the pool, one edge of the pool cover is attached to the roller with small strings or straps. By turning the wheel or a handle, we can reel in the cover onto the roller, saving lot of hard labour.

Some pool cover rollers come with wheels or casters that allow them to be moved away when not in use. An option to attach them to the wall with mounting brackets is also available. Which works best usually depends on how much space you have in your pool area.

Installed Solar Pool Cover

Things to watch out for while using a solar pool cover.

Before you let anyone swim in the pool, it is important to remove the pool cover completely to ensure that no one gets trapped underneath it. This is especially true when it comes to pets and small children.

If you use a cover with a salt chlorinator, chlorine gas can build up underneath the cover and increase the chlorine level in the pool if it isn’t used for longer periods. It predominantly occurs during the coldest winter months when pools aren’t used, and chlorine demand isn’t high.

High chlorine levels can damage rubber parts of pool cleaners. Therefore, it is recommended to take off the cover in winter at least once every two weeks to let the chlorine gas out.

Solar Pool Covers: Frequently Asked Questions

Solar pool covers go bubbles facing up or down?

One of the most commonly asked question by solar pool cover buyers is if the bubbles of the cover face upward or downward. The bubbles also act as a magnifying glass to transfer the sun’s heat into the pool water effectively.

If the bubbles are pointing away from the water, then they won’t be able to transfer the sun’s energy into the water. In addition, if the bubbles are positioned incorrectly, the solar blanket will be damaged over time as the hot air trapped inside the bubbles will cause the bubbles to deteriorate, making the solar blanket unable to release the heat trapped inside them.

Should I leave my solar pool cover on during the day?

To get the most out of your solar pool cover, put it on whenever the pool isn’t being used. During the day, you’re most likely to get the most heat from your solar blanket. But it is also helpful to leave the solar blanket out during the night, as this will significantly decrease evaporation and heat loss.

How to ensure that the cover doesn’t blow off the pool?

Well-fitted solar pool covers are without any edges that ascend above the pool coping, they won’t blow off in the wind. Instead, the wind will generally blow down onto the cover, holding it in place. This statement is correct unless the solar blanket is cut too big and extends over the sides of the pool, or the blanket is cut too small and doesn’t align with the pool’s edges. An incorrectly fitted solar blanket allows air to pass underneath, and then the wind may lift it off the pool.

To get the most out of your solar pool cover, ensure that there are no gaps between the edge of the pool and the solar blanket’s edge, so the wind cannot lift any edges and blow underneath the solar blanket. A well-fitted blanket will also improve the overall effectiveness of your pool cover.

How long will the solar pool cover last?

A swimming pool with a too high chlorine level will shorten the lifespan of a pool cover and speed up the deterioration process. With UV radiation and pool chemicals like chlorine constantly attacking it, a bubble cover is subjected to a harsh environment.

Heat will also play a role in accelerating the effects of chlorine and UV radiation. As a result, a solar pool cover has a limited lifespan, mainly depending on the correct care. As a general rule, the 300-micron covers last up to five years and the 500-micron covers about eight to ten years.